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GROWING ANGUILLA

In these modern days of increasing world wide discussion focusing on the relationship between environment and land use--from wetlands issues to the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome--emotions can run high whenever specific projects are discussed for approval.

These emotional concerns are addressed in a number of ways. For example, in most American communities development proposals are routinely reviewed by citizens groups whose approval is an essential component of Government permitting. In fact, citizens groups are generally those most feared by developers--such groups are usually the most demanding, for those immediately affected raise the hardest issues. Citizen review might result in the developer decreasing his requested density, or might convince the developer to increase various community amenities within his proposed project, or might result in any number of changes which the community accepts as improvements to the original proposal.

In essence, local citizen review and approval of development projects which are proposed for construction within their community assures Government (both elected and administrative) that the community is satisfied with the trade-offs between approving a project, and rejecting it. Such assurance helps Government both with approvals and refusals, for the public will of the surrounding community has been expressed.

In a community as small as Anguilla's, such review of every project could bring all development to a standstill--a condition very few of us who live and work here would wish for. However such a review of larger projects-- projects which exceed certain, established, criteria -could well be reviewed by the community as a whole, perhaps through referendum. The referendum process of putting specific proposals to the community for direct vote, has been used extensively in many American communities, and has provided both public sector guidance and legislation.

With all the concern raised about the Beacon expansion--all the heart felt legal, political, and emotional concerns--and with the excitement of the proposed Brimegen airport relocation (to name just two), it might be well to think about "expanding the pie" so that everyone wins. Such an expansion may help us all, if we grow Anguilla by putting more development emphasis on our surrounding islands--Dog, Prickly Pear, Scrub, Sombrero.

As uninhabited, but valuable real estate, these Islands could be used to absorb development pressure from those larger scale projects which raise more questions and concerns than can be answered within the community. In addition, such larger projects can often be used as the cutting edge which encourage entrepreneurs to follow and grow--and such growth will bring the Islands into Anguilla, and away from illicit use.

For example, what would be the impact of putting the new prison on Prickly Pear? The Beacon on Sombrero? The airport on Scrub?

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